Two years of Balakot airstrike: Rajnath Singh, others BJP leaders remember ‘Operation Bandar’

Mirage 2000 fighter jets crossed the Line of Control (LoC) and destroyed a training camp in Pakistan's Balakot, at around 3.30 am on 26 February, 2019

FP Trending February 26, 2021 20:11:26 IST
Two years of Balakot airstrike: Rajnath Singh, others BJP leaders remember ‘Operation Bandar’

A cropped version of a satellite image shows a close-up of a madrasa near Balakot, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province. Reuters/Planet Labs

Conducted in response to the deadly Pulwama attack that claimed the lives of 40 Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) personnel, Balakot Air Strike was the first aerial assault carried out by the Indian Air Force in Pakistan after 1971 India-Pakistan war. The incident completed two years on Friday (26 February).

Mirage 2000 fighter jets crossed the Line of Control (LoC) and destroyed a training camp in Pakistan's Balakot, at around 3.30 am on 26 February, 2019.

According to a report by DNA, 'Operation Bandar' was carried out by the seventh and ninth squadrons of the Indian Air Force. The report added that the jets flew three separate formations, over north and central India for hours before entering Pakistan.

According to a report by Hindustan Times, at 3.45 am on 26 February, 2019, the then-Air Chief BS Dhanoa made a telephone call to National Security Adviser Ajit Doval on a special RAX number and said the monkey has been killed.

Dhanoa was referring to the camp at Balakot, which the Government of India said belonged to the terrorist group Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM), that had been taken down by the IAF. He subsequently made calls to then Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman and Secretary (Research and Analysis Wing) Anil Dhasmana.

NSA Doval on his part informed Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Defence Minister Rajnath Singh on Friday remembered the second anniversary of the Balakot airstrikes and saluted the courage and diligence of the Indian Air Force (IAF).

He wrote: "On the anniversary of Balakot Air Strikes, I salute the exceptional courage and diligence of the Indian Air Force. The success of Balakot strikes has shown India’s strong will to act against terrorism. We are proud of our Armed Forces who keep India safe and secure. @IAF_MCC."

The official Twitter handle of the Indian Air Force remembered the day with a tweet, writing, "#FridayFury 'Every Bullet Targeted to its Billet' Avengers: Endgame of Terror #IndianAirForce - Accurate & Lethal."

The official Twitter handle of BJP marked the day with a short clip alongside a caption that saluted the successful Balakot airstrikes.

BJP spokesperson Sambit Patra tweeted, "Exactly two years ago @IAF_MCC carried out #BalakotAirStrike and showed an exceptional courage & valour.‘New India’ showed clear mindset against terrorism and gave befitting reply. A strong message was sent to our neighbour. We are proud of our ‘Armed Forces’. (sic)" Besides Patra, several other BJP leaders remembered the airstrikes. Here's what others said:

The Chief Minister of Assam Sarabananda Sonowal tweeted, "Salutations to the @IAF_MCC on the anniversary of Balakot Air Strikes and to all security personnel who are keeping us safe. Let this day be a proud reminder that India will not tolerate terrorism at any cost."

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